Changing Your Foster Kid’s School

Your social worker asks you to drive your foster children to their before-foster-care school.  It’s 30 minutes away!  That’s a whole lot of time wasted in the car, right?  First, check out how to make the most out of foster care drive time in Should You Drive Your Foster Kid?.

And then check out how much foster kids lose for every time they have to change schools.  Data is for California, but can be extrapolated to foster care in general.

Source:  Attorney General’s 2014 Report on California’s Elementary School Truancy and Absenteeism Crisis.

When you’re thinking of changing your foster kiddo’s school, ask yourself if it’s worth your child falling half a year behind their peers.  What if this is your child’s second or third move?  What are the odds that your foster child will need to change schools in the future?

Sometimes the answer is yes, a move makes sense.  But sometimes, the time you spend behind the wheel driving your kid back and forth is time truly well spent.

Love Song for a Traumatized Child

I’m changing it up a bit today.  Here’s a song that makes me think of the fierce love between a parent and a hurt child.  It’s called “Your Heart” by Anne Heaton.  The slightly dark undertow makes me think of a traumatized child struggling to believe that there is someone who can handle him/her despite their history of abuse or neglect.

Check out these lyrics:

I raised my hands to the sky
Brought cool rain to your eyes
I made a big sound like thunder
But you didn’t move / And that’s when I knew
Your love was fearless and true

Or better yet, listen to the whole song.

More for Parents (who survived childhood abuse)

Recently I wrote Should Survivors of Abuse Be Foster Parents or Adoptive Parents.  A special thanks to the many people who directly emailed me, sharing their experiences, hopes and fears about this topic.  You inspire me with your courage and dedication to ensuring healthier, happier, and safer childhoods for today’s youngest generation.  I am here, cheering you along your path of healing for yourself and your families.

Many of you expressed a fear over whether social workers would think you would make a good foster or adoptive parent.  The post Should Survivors of Abuse Be Foster Parents or Adoptive Parents covered some actions you might want to take to prepare yourself.  If you have triumphed over childhood abuse or neglect, you may be interested in another tool I uncovered in Penelope’s post at Foster2Forever The Attachment Style of Your Parents Determines Yours.

Penelope explains that the attachment parenting style we received as children is our default for how we will parent as adults.    She notes that while 60% of the general population is securely attached, only 15% of foster / adoptive parents are.  I find this statistic super hard to believe as I know so many wonderful adoptive / foster families.  (Yes, I am talking about you, my good friends!)

But I believe there’s value in looking in the mirror periodically and assessing what we can do better.  At the end of Penelope’s post, she writes about some ways to change our parenting styles to encourage the strongest possible attachments for our children.  Everyone, even those who had Leave It to Beaver perfect childhoods, can benefit from some self analysis.

So, check out Penelope’s post and let me know what you think.

Our Foster Adoption Story

What makes a perfectly happy family of dad, mom and baby decide to adopt a 6-year-old boy with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)?  How can you pluck one reason out of a sea of so many possibilities?

When I was a little girl, my baby dolls were always adopted.  Was it because I grew up with a foster brother? Because the first movie I ever saw in the theaters was Annie, which opened my eyes to the trials of orphans?  Or was it simply how I was made?

When my boyfriend (now hubby) and I began to get serious, I told him that I wanted to adopt and that if he felt that he needed a biological child, we would need to have a talk.  Luckily, he was fine with building our family through adoption.

Surprise – we had a bio daughter (Sassy), but we still wanted to grow our family through adoption.

So many people want to adopt a healthy, white infant and there’s a high demand for girls.  We knew we could love older boys of a variety of ethnicities, so we purposely looked for latino sibling set of boys, who would be less likely to adopted.

It was love at first “sight” when we saw the photo of Silent One.  Not because he was cute (he is, though!), but because there was something in his eyes that spoke of a determination to carve out a better future.  Silent One’s birth father had been murdered, which ultimately landed Silent One in foster care.  Although Silent One had siblings, the foster care system had determined that they would not be adopted together (a horrible mistake in my mind!).  Read about our first day together in The Day We Adopted Our Son.

I distinctly recall a nurse doing our physicals for the home study and telling us that we would be ruining our lives by welcoming a child with PTSD into our home.  Her heart was in the right place, wanting to make sure that we knew the risks.  And in some ways, I’m thankful that she told us it would be incredibly tough so that we were mentally prepared and didn’t blame ourselves (too much 🙂 ) for not being better parents when we went through rough patches.  But in other ways, I am sad that maybe less stubborn families have been dissuaded by well meaning people and have missed out on the joy of loving a foster child.

We now are a foster family who tries to use our experiences of raising a child from foster care to help children and their families reunite.

This post is part of No Bohns About It’s Adoption Talk link up.